Game Four was a crushing disappointment for so many reasons, but secondary to Giannis’s injury was the completely inert performance in the first half. I’m not taking anything away from the second half given the nature of their star’s departure from the game, but Milwaukee still came out flat from jump. PJ Tucker addressed that in his postgame presser. It’s the Eastern Conference Finals. There’s no excuses…You have to fight through it and win..
Lou Williams was inserted into the starting lineup following Young’s injury and he responded in a major way finishing with a game-high 21 points to lead six Hawks players scoring in double figures. On the other side of the spectrum, Jrue Holiday led all scorers for Milwaukee with 19 points.
The Hawks were already without Trae Young, and by the end of Game 4 neither team had their star on the court. Early in the third quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo went up to try and deflect a lob that was thrown to Clint Capela. Upon landing, Giannis hyperextended his left knee, which was then pushed further back by by the force of Capela’s landing.
The team officially announced he was out with a hyperextended knee, but no further details are available at this point. Giannis will get an MRI at some point in the near future, after which we’ll know the full extent of the injury. Whether he’s able to return for the playoffs or not, hopefully he didn’t do any major damage to the knee that could affect his career moving forward.
Poor shooting didn’t help, but they were lackadaisical and out of sorts for the entire first half, and dug themselves a double-digit deficit. Sure, the Bucks still could have won, and their bad start is going to get wiped out by Giannis’ injury, but the truth is that the Hawks looked more ready for this game despite the absence of their best player.
Now, the series is all tied up at 2-2 as we head back to Milwaukee for Game 5, and we don’t know the status of either Giannis or Young. If Giannis is indeed out — which in all honestly seems likely given the severity of his hyperextension — it will be interesting to see what sort of response the Bucks have. As great as Young is, the Hawks are a deep team and in Williams have a similar player who can step in and replicate his role to some extent. Brook Lopez has found himself put through the discourse ringer with this series, but I thought one disappointing part of Game Four was the fact the Hawks were still really efficient from floater space over his outstretched contest. They nailed 12-18 from that range, and it opened up the lobs to Capela. The Bucks have won on the back of their defense all postseason, and they need Lopez at his best in this one if they hope to take it. He’ll need to be their anchor there and likely their most stout post presence, along with splashing in a few triples. Here’s hoping he can come through.
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